We asked four very senior college football writers what they thought of the 2011 season and one of them replied: "It's been the worst 2011 offseason on record."
We don't want to depress you with how crappy things have been, but here's the Top 10 of Crappiness off the field. Don't worry Alabama and LSU, your time will come on the field.
1) Penn State
Joe Paterno fired after facing charges by the media of ignoring child molestation accusations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Also out are Penn State president Graham Spanier.
Ironically, Paterno taken for a hospital check-up where it's found he has lung cancer. Getting fired may just have saved his life. Not that some dengerates on Twitter care—they feel this is karma for Paterno apparently having ignored the horrors of what was happening on the campus.
Sandusky himself has admitted showering with the boys but not raping them. The whole thing makes us, er, ill.
2) The Texas Temper Tantrum
Texas A&M hates Texas' Longhorn Network (a deal with ESPN) that it quits the Big XII and moves to the SEC. Also going with it is the great Thanksgiving rivalry between the two schools, which had managed to survive world wars.
Apparently nothing is treasured like a bit of money, eh? Oh, and the bit of money that will be SEC TV contracts will be good money to spend for A&M, who will now spend years in the SEC Wasteland for years to come. Sorry in-coming coach Kevin Sumlin (who was awarded the job after Mike Sherman was fired), you're now in the same conference as Alabama, LSU and new big rival, Arkansas.
3) Goodbye, Dear Friends
The VFA is saying a prayer for the families of Austin Box (Oklahoma) and Garrett Uekmann (Arkansas), who both died before their time. Box died before the season and Uekmann died just one game before the end. Defensive assistant Chester McGlockton (Stanford) also went.
4) Welcome to Miami
In August a University of Miami booster, Nevin Shapiro, talking behind bars, boasted of giving out a ton of illegal benefits to both former and current athletes within the Hurricanes program. The Hurricanes have now given up a bowl spot—but it looks as though the NCAA may have worse to come.
5) King Tress and the Terrelle Tattoo
Lying about knowing nothing about game memorabilia getting swapped for tattoos will get you fired, long-time Ohio State coach Jim Tressel found out just before the season. Also going? Starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
The Buckeyes were awful for a large amount of the season, ending with a 6-6 record. The good news for the Buckeyes—and there always seems to be some for these guys—is that the problems happened before the season, which then inspired Urban Meyer to come back and turn things round. He'll start coaching after the bowl game against—you guessed it—Florida.
6) Which Conference?
Texas A&M wasn't the only team to move this offseason. Missouri's also gone to the SEC, while the Big XII added TCU and West Virginia. The Big East wasn't going to let West Virginia go without a fight—and both have sued each other.
West Virginia's arrival may have to be a bit later than 2012, though. Ironically, the conference is probably better football-wise than it was with Mizzou and Texas A&M.
Oh, and the Big East? It went hog-wild, signing up Central Florida and well-known Eastern seaboard superpowers Boise State, SMU and San Diego State. There is no truth to the rumor that the Big East will be re-named "The Big Anywhere." We hope Pittsburgh and WVU continue the 'Backyard Brawl'.
7) Publications Changes
ESPN's Bruce Feldman moves to CBSSports.com after Feldman—who co-wrote Mike Leach's book Swing Your Sword was suspended by ESPN after Leach criticized hugely-respected analyst Craig James for his part in Leach's firing at Texas Tech.
In more bad news for ESPN, Pat Forde left in November for Yahoo Sports—which is a pity, since we loved his 'Forde Yard Dash.' ESPN also launches Grantland.com, which is a website promoting long-form writing. It's absolutely brilliant, by the way (although it's said to be losing money).
8) Poison, But No Remedy
University of Alabama nutcase fan Harvey Updyke takes Auburn's BCS National Championship victory more than a little seriously and poisons the famous oaks at Toomer's Corner. Listen, we're all for urinating on the side of Jordan-Hare Stadium to show your hatred, but poisoning nature? Really? Here's to hope that spring will bring something back.
9) Fancy a Beer, Stephen?
Being a good member of Alcoholics Anonymous, we can safely say that Stephen Garcia is unmanageable when it comes to alcohol. Let's hope Steve Spurrier's dismissal of the South Carolina quarterback—which helped to implode the Gamecocks' season—will send the message to Garcia loud and clear and the kid will get help. He needs it.
10) Bad, Bad Coaching Searches
While we can understand that Penn State's search for a head coach is going to be effectively stalled for a while (personally, I'd rather the interim head coach's job be given to defensive co-ordinator/genius Tom Bradley right now so the Nittany Lions can get on with recruiting), Arizona State's efforts have been an absolute joke.
After apparently signing SMU coach June Jones (great hire!), the ASU boosters kicked up an almighty fuss and the deal fell through. Now they are back in the coaching abyss—and needing to hire a coach fast—especially a recruiter extraordinaire Rich Rodriguez is installed up the road in Tuscon and Mike Leach has a job at Washington State. And to make life easier for the Sun Devils, that USC program isn't on probation anymore, either.